Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ivy Green - Tuscumbia, Alabama - July 1, 2011

After visiting Florence we drove 7 miles south to Tuscumbia, Alabama - birthplace of Helen Keller. Tuscumbia is a pretty town filled with beautiful historical homes, a nostalgic Main Street shopping area, a majestic court house, and of course, Ivy Green.
After eating lunch at Frank's Italian on Main Street (of course) we walked down to the courthouse and historic district to see some of the beautiful homes and monuments.
We also found another bottle tree. As you can see from the picture this particular bottle tree serves two purposes; warding off evil spirits and a hose rack!
Built in 1820, just a year after Alabama became the 22nd state, Ivy Green was only the second home in Tuscumbia. The main house is a simple, Southern-style home with 4 rooms on the bottom floor divided by a hallway and three rooms upstairs - two bedrooms and a sewing room.
 This was Helen and Anne's room. Helen once locked Anne in this bedroom and hid the key in her mouth. Captian Keller had to use a ladder to climb up to the window to rescue Anne.

We were given a private tour of the main floor. The hallway is filled with photos and artifacts from the Keller family collection. The rooms are filled with furniture, clothing, dishes, and other treasured items from Helen's life in Tuscumbia, at Radcliff College in Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Only a few of the items in the house are from her life in Tuscumbia. Most of the artifacts came from her adult life in Connecticut.
 Surviving unscathed through the trauma of the Civil War, Ivy Green has been well preserved with many of the original fixtures and furniture still in the home. In 1954 Ivy Green was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 This is a look inside the little cottage beside the main house where Anne took Helen to separate her from the family who had been spoiling her for years. Helen was driven around the property for nearly two hours so she would not realize she was still on the Keller homestead. The little cottage is actually just around 30-40 feet from the main house.
This is the actual water pump where "Anne Sullivan reached into the dark silent world of young Helen Keller's mind and opened the window of communication." *Quoted from the Helen Keller Birthplace Website.
 Just outside the home is a monument, erected by the Lions Club of America, dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Helen Keller. A copper bust of Helen watches over the grounds and visitors who come to honor her memory and reflect upon her courage.

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